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Bar News - January 16, 2009


NH Bar Members in ABA Leadership

Stephen L. Tober
 

L. Jonathan Ross
 

Russell Hilliard

When the American Bar Association – the world’s largest voluntary professional organization with 407,000 members – convenes next month in Boston for the 2009 Midyear Meeting, three NHBA members will participate in the organization’s deliberations and decision-making at its highest levels.

At the top of the list is Portsmouth lawyer Stephen L. Tober, who is in the first year of his term on the ABA’s Board of Governors, a 40-member group that oversees the administration and management of the Association, and is entrusted with the authority to act and speak for the ABA when the House of Delegates – the primary policy-making body – is not in session. Tober was the 1988-89 NHBA president. In 2005, Tober was named chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which researches and evaluates the qualifications of federal judicial nominees. Tober, the first NH lawyer to hold that post, served during a crucial period when the Senate filled two vacancies on the US Supreme Court. He served as NHBA State Delegate for 11 years, representing the ABA members in the state.

Joining Tober as members of the leadership delegation serving in the House of Delegates from NH will be L. Jonathan Ross, State Delegate; and Russell Hilliard, Association Delegate. Both also are past NHBA presidents (1985-86 and 2003-04, respectively). As Association Delegate, Hilliard represents the interests of the NHBA membership in the state.

Ross, noted for his participation in the ABA for many years, currently serves as chair of the House of Delegates’ Impact Resolutions and Review Committee, which researches and reports on the impact of ABA House of Delegates’ actions. Ross also is a member of the 67-person Nominating Committee which selects the officers of the ABA. He is active nationally and in the region in ABA efforts to increase membership. In NH, he is working with attorneys Jennifer Parent and Jaye Rancourt, past and present members respectively, of the NHBA Board of Governors and past chairs of the New Lawyers’ Committee, in NH-specific efforts to increase ABA membership. Ross said that there are about 1,332 ABA members among NH attorneys, or about 40 percent of the attorneys in the state.

Hilliard, more of a newcomer to the ABA, was first elected Association Delegate in 2006. He says that he is becoming more interested in ABA governance as he gains experience, saying he was initially daunted by the length and variety of the resolutions and proposals that the House of Delegates is charged with considering at each meeting. Hilliard said that the proposals – covering many areas of the law, including model code amendments and other technical matters – are circulated to all entities within the ABA prior to coming before the House of Delegates for voting.

All three leaders say that in all of their work for the ABA, they are looking out for the best interests of attorneys in NH practice. As Tober says, "The core values of the ABA are the same as those of the NHBA – service to the profession, the administration of justice, and service on behalf of the public."

Tober said he invites NHBA members to bring up any concerns that lawyers might have that could be addressed or responded to by the ABA. Another well-known NH Bar member, Supreme Court Associate Justice James Duggan, recently was appointed to the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (SCLAID). Other Bar members, too numerous to mention in this space, are active in the ABA, contributing their expertise on committees, sections, programs and publications. We encourage members active in the ABA to contact the Bar News at nhbainfo@nhbar.org with article ideas on significant ABA initiatives.

 

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